June 20, 2006

Saturn’s moons seen wearing haloes

From New Scientist....

Saturn's two largest moons have been captured together in a new image from the Cassini spacecraft. The image will help mission managers refine their models of the moons' positions to better steer the spacecraft in the future.

The image was snapped on 11 June, when Cassini was about 3.6 million kilometres away from Saturn's second-largest moon, Rhea. It shows the 1528-kilometre-wide Rhea silhouetted against Titan, which is about three times as big.

The bright ring that surrounds Titan is sunlight scattered by Titan's thick atmosphere – the sun lies behind the moons in this image.

But the image was not taken solely for its aesthetic appeal. "It will help mission managers fly the spacecraft," says Alfred McEwen, a member of Cassini's imaging team at the University of Arizona.

(Link - New Scientist)


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